The Calling

For many of us Rachel Power‘s work The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood is an inspiration and support to the continuation of our own creative parenting lives; a document we can identify with and learn from and that brings to light important themes and issues we all face.
“What strikes me most about The Divided Heart – Art and Motherhood by Rachel Power is that each and every woman sees her creative work as a ‘calling’.  As an integral part of who they are in the world and not just some separate identity.  They all seem to understand that the creative self and the mother self are fluid and move in and around each other”. Mary Trunk
In some recent research I undertook into life transitions I came across some research by Deidre Anderson (2009) looking at career transition in elite athletes. I found it interesting because Anderson suggested that many elite athletes understand their occupation as the core aspect of their self-identity, something more than what they do. A way of being in the world and expressive of who they are, just like artists do. The suggestion in this research was to encourage a broader view of the self to ease points of transition but also to improve performance in their chosen field of expertise or ‘calling’.
What I have found most inspiring (but not surprising) as guest editor of this BIG Mother Artist Network Festival is the innovation, determination and depth of work created by mother artists. Not to put us above artists in other contexts but to acknowledge the particular power of our own context. Having a child is a major transition in an artist’s life and the necessary broader view of the self as something more than (not other than) an artist not only gives rise to new ways of approaching artistic practice but, taking the suggestions of Deidre Anderson, may in fact boost our ability to move through future career or life transitions.
Below are some links to blogs, websites and projects of mother artists making vital, powerful and incredibly interesting work. Responding artistically to life and all its twists and turns. Take some time to really see and let the twin selves of these artists reveal themselves through their work.
Flannery O’ Kafka – photographer, blogger of melancholy merry making and mother of five
Kristina 1 from MOTHER – A series of portraits of mothers sans their children by Parisa Taghizadeh
Amelia Carson  artist, blogger, mother
Michelle Johnston author of Woman on the Verge
The Mother Artist Network (MAN) is an initiative of Jo Pollitt and Lilly Blue and BIG Kids Magazine. This inaugural mini MAN Festival has been curated in collaboration with guest editor and mother artist extraordinaire Vivienne Rogis to whom we are so grateful! 
The Mother Artist Network is a place that invites BIG ideas and discussion about creative practice and motherhood. Through a forum of ongoing blog posts the MAN will feature voices of mother-artists at all stages of artistic engagement and motherhood.  We very much hope you will contribute to the conversation by commenting below or emailing us at info@bigkidsmagazine to add your story to the mix.